One of the key episodes in Earthly Powers is the trial scene in chapter 64, where Kenneth Toomey stands up in a London magistrate’s court to defend a fellow writer who has been accused of publishing a blasphemous poem. In the course of giving evidence, Toomey makes a public declaration of his homosexuality, which he […]

Anthony Burgess is well known as a writer from Manchester who lived in places such as Malaya and Monaco, but the period of his residence in London is less well documented. This article looks at the books and other writing projects he worked on during the five years he lived at 24 Glebe Street in […]

One of Anthony Burgess’s first commissions from Penguin Books was to write an introduction to Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year, published in 1966 as part of the Penguin English Library. His introduction is still available in the current Penguin Classics edition, and it remains a lively and thoughtful preparation for Defoe’s haunting […]

Throughout his career, Anthony Burgess emphasised his status as a Mancunian who defined himself in opposition to the London literary establishment. In his biography of Shakespeare (1970), he draws parallels between himself and the playwright’s childhood and education away from the capital. Yet, like Shakespeare, Burgess was drawn to London from the provinces, and the […]

This picture, taken in Chiswick, shows Burgess with his border collie, Haji. Burgess and his first wife Lynne acquired their dog when they moved to Etchingham in 1960, where they also had a cat and kittens. According to Burgess, Haji was not the perfect pet: ‘He was crafty, disobedient, and ignorant of the sexual life, […]